This story has been lucky to touch the hearts of many around the globe who have been yearning for a memoir of it’s type, not only of a team of Green Beret’s from the elite 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and their travels around the globe for combat and training during the Global War on Terrorism, but also the story of their lives and a unique inside look of how an ODA operates, works together, and how it effects their families.
One of the few Special Operations memoirs actually written by the man who lived it rather than a ghostwriter hired by a publisher, “Love Me When I’m Gone” has been lauded for it’s down and dirty insiders view, bringing you into the boots and body armor of a Green Beret on todays battlefield.
But don’t take my word for it; below are some reviews left by readers on Amazon, Goodreads and various blogs from literary insiders. Sorry that we couldn’t fit all of the amazing 5-star reviews “Love Me When I’m Gone” has received on here, but if you’d like to see more just follow the links to Amazon and Goodreads to see them all yourself!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story!
By Dave Edminston, Top Amazon Reviewer
This is the second time that I’ve heard a veteran interviewed on Adam Carolla’s podcast to plug his book. Both times the authors turned out to be some of the best guests I’ve ever heard. The first was Sean Parnell, author of “Outlaw Platoon.” And just like Sean Parnell, Rob Lewis turned out to be one of the nicest, most sincere, and most interesting guests to listen to. And again, just like with the previous guest’s book, “Love Me When I’m Gone” turned out to be an amazing story.
Rob Lewis tells his story beginning as a high school student who is kind of a screw-up. He meets a nice girl in his Spanish class and eventually falls in love with her. His love for her turns out to be an ongoing thread through the whole story.What makes his story uniquely interesting to me compared to other accounts from Afghanistan is his medical experience. As a Special Forces “18D”, he is the medical specialist for his team.
With his expertise, he is also often called on to deliver medical clinics to the locals where he was deployed. These clinics were a sign of good faith to the locals, intended to win over their goodwill.I don’t want to tell too much of his story; you should read it for yourself.Lewis’s story is intense and hard to read at times.
I admit that my eyes leaked more than once. I don’t know if he had professional help to write his story or if he wrote this himself. All I know is that the writing was really well done.
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect book for a former combat vet & wife
My husband doesn’t read. I’ve sent him lots of books while he was deployed, but none really sparked his interest until we were laying in bed one night and he saw a shared link to this book on Facebook. He instantly asked if we could download it on our Kindle.As a combat veteran who is far from most of his Army buddies, this was the perfect way for him to relate and reflect in a way that only few veterans can.
The author’s romance with his now wife was strikingly like ours during the six years we dated while he was all over the world.This book as a solid balance of a pure love story and a gritty recollection of wartime moments. We read it together and realized how amazing and unique our community is.
For people who are unfamiliar with Army terms and rules, the author breaks it down pretty well without taking away from the story.I want to thank the author for sharing his story and inspiring my husband through a transition time into the civilian world. I want to thank the author’s wife for being a prime example of a steadfast partner.
I want to thank all of our military personnel and their families for being the reason why we fight, succeed and carry on.
5.0 out of 5 stars True Story, Well Told
Well, I was very impressed. It was told in such a way that I not only wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next but I also wanted to meet all these people.It was a great depiction of a SF soldier and the extensive training they go through to become the warriors they are. And I love the romantic aspect that was included. It was so real and yet remained in the background so it never seemed cheesy or out of place.
I highly recommend it. And thank you to all the soldiers in the armed forces.
Never dreamed I would like this book so. It’s the second war story I’ve ever read. The first was “Bridge on the River Kwai,” required reading in high school. This was also an “obligation read” because I met the author’s wife at the VA, opened my big yap and told her I would read it.
Amazing Grace. I devoured it, a very interesting tale of the very real life of today’s military. Who knew so much behind the scenes intrigue underlies so much banality? Or maybe it was Lewis’s story-telling skill that had me absorbing every word? Shockingly good read.Somebody give this guy a writing deal.
This is not a sugar and spice tale. It’s a boots-on-the-ground, blood-sweat-and-tears soldier story, told with a soldier’s tongue in authentic soldiers’ speak delivered with occasional profanity and frequent military acronyms that draw readers into this elite society of brothers. Lewis’s dialogue conveys the urgency, pain, and frustration of war.
It is a hard read emotionally, because most readers will have a face slap of recognition that we are too removed from the men and women defending our rights and privileges.Lewis offers biographical glimpse behind the camouflage, beginning with the circumstances and events that set him on the road to military service.
Put up for adoption at birth, he considers himself twice blessed to have had birth parents who allowed him the chance to be raised in a nurturing, adopted family with a deep military tradition. His father left the Navy and tied his hopes to a newly formed airline called Southwest, which Lewis regards as a second family. Despite all this support, Lewis lost his bearings following the cancer death of his mother.
To rein his flailing son in, his father enrolled him in a military academy whose structure and rules put Lewis back on course.Lewis returned to public school his Sophomore year and met a charming Asian coed named Cindy Chiu who secretly won his heart.After graduation, the two went their separate ways with only brief interactions, and then they lost contact for several years. Lewis was headed for a degree in business when 9/11 happened, and he chose to enlist in the Army in the hopes of becoming an Army Ranger. In Lewis’s own words:
“At my fathers urging I enlisted in the delayed entry program, which would allow me to finish out my college degree before leaving for Infantry basic training (boot camp). Less than a month after I walked across the stage and took my diploma from Texas State University in 2003, I was on a plane to Ft. Benning, Georgia to learn how to be an Infantryman, then off to Airborne school, then to Ft. Bragg, NC for Special Operations Prep and Conditioning (SOPC, the first of many weed-out courses designed to convince the weak to leave of their own accord), followed by Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) and the beginning of my two years in the Special Forces Qualification Course (the SFQC or, more commonly, the Q-course), being assessed and tested every single day on whether or not I had what it took to serve my country as a Green Beret.”
Lewis is quick to point out the sacrifice families make when a soldier chooses the military as their vocation. After years of no contact, Cindy Chiu found him through social media, and she became his anchor, the person he dreamed of coming home to, the woman with whom he dreamed of building a future. Love Me When I’m Gone highlights the emotional toll separation and secrecy take on these Special Forces’ loved ones.
“I still remember the day that I got her first message on MySpace; I returned from SERE school the day before, and was still bruised, battered, emotionally scarred and emaciated from spending a month as a POW in the North Carolina woods. SERE is the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape portion of the Q-course, and it was the very last part of my two-year journey of proving that I had what it took to wear the coveted Green Beret. Both of my roommates were 18B’s, weapons specialists, Green Berets who can identify, fix, rebuild, and operate any weapon in use anywhere in the world, had been finished with the Q-course for several months. I had been selected as an 18 Delta, Special Forces Medic, which, while it is one of the most coveted positions in all of Special Operations, adds a full year of medical training, testing, and hospital rotations to your duration in the Q-course.”
“As luck would have it, she had been searching for me all along as well. Her first email to me was about three pages long, and after a week of exchanging messages on MySpace we graduated to all night phone calls. It was just like we were teenagers again, and night after night I would stay on the phone until just hours before I had to get up to go to work, and I was constantly operating on just a few hours of sleep.”
“It was only a few weeks later that my orders finally came down: I was being assigned to the elite 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group in Germany, with the first unit of Green Berets that had ever existed. It was the most bittersweet news I ever received; I had been hoping and praying throughout my entire time in the Q-course that I would get this assignment to Germany, where my Grandfather had been stationed after WWII and my father had spent his formative childhood years, but now that Cindy and I found each other again it meant that our paths would once again separate. I could hear the disappointment in her voice the day that I told her, and it made my heart sink.”
Lewis takes readers right into this specialized world. It’s not all bullets and blood. Readers feel the toll inertia takes on warriors who are far from home, living in a state of readiness, but like race horses in the gate, tense as headlines and orders collide, delaying their release and insertion into battle. They fill the days with more training, repeating skills until actions are so instinctive they are, as Lewis calls them, “muscle memory.”
I was most impressed by the humanitarian work performed by these specialized peacekeepers, particularly by Special Forces medics like Lewis, who set up clinics to treat citizens in remote outposts, laboring to win the hearts and minds of people. Says Lewis in “Love Me When I’m Gone,”
“If you take care of a man, he will fight for you; take care of his family, and he will die for you.”
“Love Me When I’m Gone” runs the full spectrum of emotions. I cheered, felt my stomach knot, cried, and in truth, felt guilty that I was so unaware of the price soldiers and their families were paying for me, and for you. The combat scenes insert readers into the human drama, and the drama is intense. You understand in a new way how an individual can love another so much that he would take a bullet to save a friend. Again, in Lewis’s words:
“It is something that cannot be explained or even understood until you’ve lived it; a man can’t know or fully appreciate his life until he’s been close enough to taste the end of it, and the bonds forged in battle are some of the strongest a man could ever have. We are brothers, the men of ODA 022, and though we didn’t have the same blood running through our veins, we had all shed the blood of others together, and knew that none of us would hesitate to step in the way of fate and take a round or jump on a grenade to save one another.”
After leaving Special Forces, Lewis began writing down his experiences to help fill in the gaps for Cindy, and to record them for his children. He consulted with his comrades to make sure he was getting the details and places right, and they were so moved by the project they encouraged him to turn it into a book so the misconceptions about Special Forces soldiers would be cleared up, and so people would simply understand what they were doing on that invisible line.
It took time to get the manuscript approved by the Pentagon, and now that the book is out, Lewis’s main hope is two-fold: to provide strength to military spouses and families who suffer high divorce rates, and to support Veteran’s charities like USA Cares (for which Lewis is a national spokesman) and The Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
“Love Me When I’m Gone,” should be read by every American adult.Lewis cleaned up the language to make it a read parents could share with their teens with some prior editing. Will it jar your sensibilities? You bet. Will it change you? I hope so. We owe an incalculable debt to these heroes and their families, and understanding their sacrifice is a first step to repaying it.
5.0 out of 5 stars riveting, entertaining
A detailed account of the life of a special operator, could not put it down. Filled with interesting detail and provides a realistic view of the support to 3 different wars. I read it in a couple of days and enjoyed it very much.
The descriptions of the battle are terrifying and simultaneously electrifying, enhanced by the fact that the author actually lived through it to tell them. But it is also a touching love story that frames the whole narrative and gives it deep meaning. A must read!
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, and definitely a fast read
First heard of this book when Adam Carolla, and later Dr. Drew, had the author SSgt Lewis on their podcasts. His description did not do the book justice. The book is a FAST read, as it pulls you into his journey from a young man to meeting his future wife and his time in Special Forces.
Definitely a great read, one that will have you fired up one minute, have your tears dropping another, and then feeling good again. It isn’t the regular guy goes to war book, its just a guy’s journey through life.
Definitely pick this book up.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!!!
RPL not only did his Country service, but his family as well.I picked this book up after listening to his podcast just to read it hear and there, more to support a Brother. I started reading on a Saturday morning and had finished it by dinner. I was pulled into his experiences by the way he writes and never missed breakfast or lunch.
I couldn’t get enough, I can’t wait to get into the other books he is working on.For being someone that has read many books written by SF members of all branches of the Military as well as other government agencies, this book was crafted extremely well.Thanks for your Service and sharing your story with us, Brother.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
Loved the book! I actually listened to the audio version of this book read by the author himself. I found it fascinating to experience the life of an actual Green Beret after only knowing the movie version. I listened every chance I got. Highly recommended!
War and the consequences it has on people are not something anyone should take lightly. However, growing up in a house of hippies I can honestly tell you that they should have read this book. This book in now way glorifies war, but it puts the sacrifices of our soldiers in prospective.It only solidified what I already knew, that I am proud to me a citizen of these United States and forever thankful of our Men and Women you dutifully serve to protect OUR freedoms that we enjoy day to day and consequently take for granted, Thank you Robert Patrick Lewis for sharing this with us and making me ever so proud to be an American.
Any one who wants to become a part of the elite Special Forces will greatly appreciate this book. SGT Robert Lewis tells about his time as an 18D and it will damn near put you there. This book is incredibly inspiring, especially for SF aspirants. Other reviews prove that the book is great for anyone really. I recommend it 100%.
I’ve skipped around and read a few chapters of this book. It’s truly phenomenal. There’s so much detail and devotion to accuracy that you don’t have to get caught up in a story arc. I believe this story is one of very few told in complete truth and not diluted by outside influence because of this.Thank you Robert Patrick Lewis for enriching my world and breaking a mold.
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, pure, emotional. OUTSTANDING!
Absolutely one of the best true life military story’s I’ve ever read. Not only do you get the perfect build up of the training and Robs love and passion for defending our freedom and his brothers you also get the softer side when he speaks about Cindy his now wife (which very few have seen from a Green Beret) the book has you laughing along with him and his brothers just like they brought you in as one of them, and it will have you shedding tears by the end if you’re any type of a grown up.
What I like most about the book is how well written it is, and how open Rob is through the entire book. When he talks about things you can picture it perfectly in your head like you’ve become him and you’re looking through his eyes for a brief moment in time. Getting to see into the mind of a Green Beret is rare, what’s more rare than that is getting to see into the mind of a Green Beret medic!
I wish I would have had this book when my uncle (a Marine) was taking part in the invasion of Afghanistan and then again while he was in Iraq. It really helps ease the mind knowing how close these men really are to each other over there and how to handle them when they come home.
No words could truly do this book Justice, so I’ll end with saying it’s an emotional and intense ride along with some of the baddest men to ever walk the earth, it also has a love story that would put “The Notebook” to shame and it’s all real! Highly recommended to both men and women! It’s an experience you’ll never regret.